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Location of Bicaz
|• Mayor||Nicolae Sălăgean (Social Democratic Party)|
|• Total||148.9 km2 (57.5 sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Bicaz is a town in Neamţ County, Romania situated in the eastern Carpathian Mountains near the confluence of the Bicaz and Bistriţa Rivers and near Lake Bicaz, an artificial lake formed by the Bicaz Dam on the Bistriţa. Bicaz used to be a border town until 1918. Six villages are administered by the town: Capşa, Dodeni, Izvoru Alb, Izvoru Muntelui, Potoci and Secu.
|Source: Census data|
Before the construction of the dam (1950–1960) the settlement was just a mountain village in Eastern Carpathians where the main economic activity was timber harvesting. By tradition, the tree trunks were linked together, forming a raft (pluta); a raftman (Romanian: plutaş) used to drive the raft on the Bistriţa river downstream to wood processing facilities in Piatra Neamţ.
Building the dam created also a horizontal industry: two cement and aggregate plants were built in Bicaz proper and nearby Tașca. This, together with the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in Stejaru (10 km to the east) triggered a relative economic boom during the communist period.
Bicaz cement plant was shut down after the Romanian Revolution of 1989 and is slowly being taken apart. On the other hand, the Taşca cement plant was acquired by the German group HeidelbergCement and completely overhauled. The town has also a few timber factories and wood processing facilities.
The town has access to two national roads: DN15 and DN12C while Bicaz railway station is the terminus station on CFR Line 509 with scheduled daily service to Bucharest North. The town served also as a port with scheduled ferry service with the villages on lake shore in the 1960s and 1970s. Today the facility offers only seasonal leisure cruises.
The town is located in the proximity of two important tourist destinations in Romania: Ceahlău Massif (12 km north) and Cheile Bicazului-Hăşmaş National Park (25 km to the west). The impressive Bicaz Dam built on the Bistriţa River in the 1950s (one of the biggest in Romania) and the resulted Bicaz Lake are also popular tourist sights. Durău, the only ski resort in Ceahlău is located about 30 km north.
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